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S&Ds: No impunity for war crimes in Ukraine with reinforced EU support for investigations

Date

19 May 2022

Sections

Global Europe

All reported atrocities committed by the Russian armed forced in Ukraine, which include cases of rape of children, must be punished, urged the S&Ds in anticipation of today’s adoption of the European Parliament’s resolution on the fight against impunity for war crimes in Ukraine.

The real extent of war crimes will likely be much larger than documented to date. In Ukraine, at least 9,300 investigations have been opened and hundreds of suspects from Russia for alleged war crimes have been identified. This unequivocally calls for a coordinated international fight with all means available, including a special international tribunal to investigate the crime of aggression against Ukraine, underlined the S&D Group.

To support national and international efforts, the planned extension of the mandate of the European agency for the criminal justice cooperation (Eurojust) is timely. The enhanced mandate will give the agency the ability to analyse, store and share evidence of war crimes and in doing so will support the investigation and prosecution of these international crimes. As part of an urgent procedure, the vote to amend the Regulation on Eurojust will take place during the mini-plenary session today, after which EU governments in the Council are also expected to quickly sign off on the agreement.

Maria Arena, the S&D negotiator on the resolution on the fight against impunity for war crimes in Ukraine, and the Chair of the European Parliament’s subcommittee on human rights, said:

 “The S&Ds express full support to the investigation of the alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine that is being conducted by the International Criminal Court. Also, it is of utmost importance to strengthen international coordination in the fight against impunity for war crimes in Ukraine to guarantee an efficient evidence collection, investigation and prosecution. In addition to this, as no crime should go unpunished, we are calling for the setting-up of a special international tribunal to investigate the crime of aggression against Ukraine committed by the Russian political leaders and military commanders as well as their proxies. This is needed because the International Criminal Court does not have jurisdiction over the crime of aggression in this situation. It is crucial to ensure that the ad hoc tribunal for the crime of aggression against Ukraine operates under the United Nations umbrella. With this objective, we are also calling on the EU member states to effectively use the principle of universal jurisdiction seeking to avoid impunity of war criminals. This principle enables a state jurisdiction over crimes against international law even when the crimes did not occur on that state’s territory, and neither the victim nor perpetrator is a national of that state.”

Juan Fernando López Aguilar, S&D Chair of the civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee and rapporteur for amending the mandate of Eurojust, said:

“National and international efforts to investigate the horrific war crimes in Ukraine are already underway. At the EU’s level, there is no time to lose in storing and securing evidence of these horrific crimes in Ukraine to help build a case against Russia’s aggression. The International Criminal Court has said they expect this to be the largest war crimes investigation ever conducted and we must play our part. By agreeing on a new mandate for Eurojust to store and analyse evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity, we are giving the EU the tools to help bring the responsible parties to justice. We have been working day and night over the past week to urgently update the rules governing Eurojust so that it is ready to support EU governments and the ICC as soon as possible in the fight against genocide and war crimes. To prevent any unnecessary delay, EU governments have already indicated they are ready to sign up to the changes proposed and as co-legislator, we should also act swiftly.”

 

 

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